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Monday, December 6, 2021

USC football finds itself on a new floor with no immediate answers

LOS ANGELES — As surprising as the ratio of USC’s 62-33 loss to UCLA on Saturday was, the details were familiar to anyone who’s followed the Trojans this season.

A defense that was trampled in the run game. An offense that did not convert red-zone chances into a touchdown. Turnovers, penalties, tackles for damages, much more.

USC has not been untouched by poor performance in recent years. But the repeated troubles, failure to rectify mistakes, put a heavy burden on the upper class people on the roster.

“People just aren’t accountable to each other, not playing proudly for this team,” said defensive end Nick Figueroa. “It’s not just the brand of football that we want to play, it’s not just the brand of football that is played here. So definitely a big disappointment.”

If these comments sound familiar, it’s because USC made similar remarks after Oregon State won the Coliseum for the first time in 60 years. And when Utah won at the Coliseum for the first time.

It’s just 12 weeks into the season, and 10 weeks after Clay Helton was fired as head coach, USC still has no answers.

“If I were hired as the next head coach, I would probably have the answer but I have no clue,” said center Brett Nealon, “This team has a lot of ups and downs and a lot of behind the scenes. doing things. . but yeah, it looks like when all three phases came together, there was Washington State in the second half.”

More troubling, Nealon raised the possibility that this is simply the culture the program is built into.

Changing the culture was a major part of interim head coach Donnett Williams’ message when he took over the program in September. He told the players to take off their hats inside the house and pick up the garbage in the locker room.

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But these off-field habits have had no effect on the game’s performance, and Williams acknowledged on Sunday that implementing cultural change mid-season was no easy task.

“You want to make a change, but you only make a change in the middle of the season, things are a hindrance,” Williams said. “You didn’t get a chance to grow up in the spring or summer or fall camping in things the way you want them to. All we can do is keep trying and keep moving forward and change the culture in the right direction.”

It’s hard to blame the Trojans if their eyes start looking to the future. Technically, USC can win the next two games and earn Bowl eligibility. But it would require defeating No. 13 BYU, an especially poor matchup for USC given its strong run game.

Playing at the Coliseum is also no rest after conceding 225 points from five matches to Pac-12 opponents at home this season.

“I don’t know another way to put it, but it’s disgusting,” Williams said, practically spitting out the last words.

After the UCLA game, defensive line coach Vic So’Otto told his group to carry these bitter memories into the off-season, so as not to forget the disappointment as they prepare for 2022.

“Knowing that these games are important to the events in this program’s clean future is a big part of what’s going to drive me,” Figueroa said. “And I hope it’s going to drive other people to our locker room.”

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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